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Posted on 09 May 2015, 11:15

Alex Tsakiris of Skeptiko interviews Dr. Bernardo Kastrup, author of Brief Peeks Beyond about the shortcomings of science’s reigning paradigm of materialism.

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Dr. Bernardo Kastrup to discuss his work on the nature of consciousness and the widespread influence of materialism:

Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: You see we always start from the fact that we are conscious. Consciousness is the only carrier of reality and existence that we can know. Everything else is abstraction; [they] are inferences we make from consciousness. But our culture is driven by this notion that the real reality is outside consciousness. It’s a material universe fundamentally independent of consciousness, and that our inner lives, our subjective experiences arise from specific arrangements of material in this abstract world outside mind. That’s the philosophy of materialism that underlies most academic work and underlies most of science as you know it today. But it also underlies the value system of our culture, our economic system…For instance, if matter is the only real reality, consciousness being just a transient, temporary side effect, then what meaning can there be to life but to accumulate material goods? That feeds right into the economic system and feeds right into loops of reinforcement of existing power structures.

So this metaphysical view of the world entailed by the philosophy of materialism determines not only what happens in academia, and what your kids learn in school, but largely determines everything: The culture around your relationships at work; the way we deal with the environment; the meaning of our lives or at least how we see the meaning of our lives; how we spend our time; how we spend our money; how we see our relationships; and who we maintain in power.

Read Excerpts From The Interview:

Dr. Kastrup delineates his theory about consciousness with biologist Dr. Jerry Coyne’s perspective who openly chastised Kastrup–[10min.22sec-13min.08sec]

Alex Tsakiris: I want to talk about some of these responses you have to the materialist position. And a lot of these we should say have come about through your dialogues with some folks. I’ll start out with the first one: well-known biologist Dr. Jerry Coyne who for some reason is really highly regarded in the evolutionary biology circles. He’s really not that smart of a guy I think. But here’s an example of the criticism that Coyne lays out and then we’ll hear what Bernardo has to say about it. Here is the quote from Coyne: “It’s untenable to maintain that there is no reality independent of consciousness for there is plenty of evidence about what was going on in the universe before consciousness evolved.”

Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: He actually wrote this in a very disparaging tone while criticizing something I had written. And he wrote it as if it was so obvious and I was so stupid for not seeing this. How dare I write these things without noticing that it can be so easily debunked. That was quite fun when I saw that.

Alex Tsakiris: Explain what’s false about “the miracle of the evolution of consciousness.”

Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: It begs the question very clearly–it’s a form of circular reasoning. You see the very point in contention is whether consciousness is generated by material arrangements in the form of biology, or whether consciousness is fundamental material arrangements arising within consciousness which is the point that I make. When Coyne says “oh, there has been plenty of evidence for the dynamics of the universe before consciousness arose,” he’s begging the question by assuming that consciousness arose with life within the context of an inanimate material universe outside consciousness. In other words, he’s assuming his conclusion in order to argue for that conclusion. The position of idealism is consciousness always existed because it is the medium of existence. Everything arises as excitations of consciousness. Even life–life being dissociated aspects of this one medium of consciousness. So there was a universe before life arose and that universe unfolded as the dynamics of consciousness as well. Before life, a specific type of consciousness dynamics arose within it. There is no problem in the idealist position about it and there is all kinds of trouble in the way Coyne argued because he just begs the question very clearly.

Citing another example from the book, Dr. Kastrup illuminates the simple-minded approach of materialists in tackling the big philosophical questions–[21min.25sec-23min.37sec]

Alex Tsakiris: Okay, Bernardo. Let me move on to another couple of criticisms and here’s one of my favorites because it really captures the lack of deep thinking that always seems to accompany this goofy materialism. I hate to say it so conclusively but we’ve both been doing this for a long time, and you go down these rutted roads that have been so well worn that after a while you see it coming. But you label this as criticism #14: Why would consciousness deceive us by simulating a materialist world?

Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: It is a precious one, isn’t it?

Alex Tsakiris: It is precious in the same way that a child says something, and it’s just precious. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but you just have to marvel at it.

Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: There is so much prejudice imbedded in it in a way that people are not self-reflectively aware of it. It’s amazing. As I write in the book, why did the sun deceive us for so many centuries by pretending to go around the Earth? Why did the Earth itself deceive us for so long by pretending to be flat? It’s the same kind of question as asking why is the universe deceiving us by pretending materialism to be correct? It’s not the universe. The universe it what it is. The sun has always been doing what it always did. The Earth has always been spheroid since it’s formation. Nothing is deceiving anything. The only thing that’s deceiving is ourselves. Materialists are deceiving themselves by interpreting the world according to a certain perspective, certain implicit, hidden assumptions. And they are so committed to that, thinking so much within the box, when they are pushed out of the box they ask this kind of question. Why is the world deceiving me by pretending materialism to be true? Yeah, ask the sun why it deceived us by pretending to go around the Earth. It’s the same kind of question. Continued.

ISIS Fighter Converts to Christianity After Near Death Experience

Posted on 11 March 2015, 10:48

I can’t be sure if the Aleppo Herald exists or if Hermann Groschlin is a genuine Iranian Christian priest, however, it’s an interesting story.

An ISIS jihadist has recently converted to Christianity after being left for dead near the Eastern border of Syria where he was finally rescued by Christian missionaries from the region, reports the Aleppo Herald this morning.

Mohabat News reported - The man, that has miraculously survived multiple gun shot wounds after an altercation between ISIS and Syrian Army forces, was rescued by members of the Saint Dominican Catholic Presbytery of Ayyash hours after the conflict had erupted.

The members of the Christian organization wanted to give the man a proper Christian burial and carried him over 26 kilometers before the man miraculously came back to life as he was believed to have died from his wounds.

As the man came back to his senses, he reported to priest Hermann Groschlin of the visions he had whilst in the afterlife, an event that profoundly changed the 32-year old jihadist and eventually led to his conversion to Christianity days later.

“He told me that he was always taught that to die as a martyr would open him the Gates of Jannah, or Gates of Heaven” recalled the priest. “Yet, as he had started to ascend towards the light of the Heavens, devilish entities, or Jinns he called them, appeared and led him to the fiery pits of Hell. There he had to relive all the pain he had inflicted upon others and every death he had caused throughout his entire life. He even had to relive the decapitations of his victims through their own eyes”, images the jihadist claims will haunt him for the rest of his life, admits the priest.


Doc Visited Heaven During a Near-Death Experience and What She Learned Haunted Her for Years

Posted on 10 February 2015, 11:44

Dr. Mary Neal, an orthopedic spine surgeon who describes herself as a “concrete thinker” who isn’t “fanciful” and doesn’t exaggerate, spent a long time trying to explain a seemingly inexplicable event that unfolded back in 1999 following a near-death experience.

After almost drowning during a kayaking accident while on a trip to Chile — and supposedly going without oxygen for 24 minutes — Neal remarkably survived without sustaining any brain damage.

And as if that weren’t miraculous enough, she claims that she visited heaven, interacted with spirits and was warned about her son’s death 10 years before it happened — an experience that left her confused and in awe.

When Neal recovered from her traumatic accident, she said that she found herself on a journey seeking answers, wondering whether she had imagined the entire heavenly ordeal.

“I really needed to figure out what I had experienced. I have gone through the process of coming up with alternative explanations,” the doctor told OWN TV’s “In Deep Shift,” noting that she considered the possibility of dreams and hallucinations. ”We always want to find an explanation that we can understand other than something that is divine. I am a very concrete thinker. I’m not fanciful. I don’t exaggerate.”

Parallel universes DO exist, theory claims

Posted on 03 November 2014, 15:43

‘Parallel universes DO exist’: Multiple versions of us are living in alternate worlds that interact with each other, theory claims

Imagine a world where dinosaurs hadn’t become extinct, Germany had won World War II and you were born in an entirely different country.
These worlds could exist today in parallel universes, which constantly interact with each other, according to a group of US and Australian researchers.
It may sound like science fiction, but the new theory could resolve some of the irregularities in quantum mechanics that have baffled scientists for centuries.

The team from Griffiths University and the University of California suggest that rather than evolving independently, nearby worlds influence one another by a subtle force of repulsion.
They claim that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about how particles operate on a microscopic scale.
Quantum mechanics is notoriously difficult to fathom, exhibiting weird phenomena which seem to violate the laws of cause and effect.
‘The idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics has been around since 1957,’ said Howard Wiseman, a professor in Physics at Griffith University.
‘In the well-known ‘Many-Worlds Interpretation’‘, each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made.


We May Be Living in the Matrix, Says Engineer

Posted on 03 November 2014, 15:29

The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In “Beyond Science” Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

Jim Elvidge will discuss his observations on how our world is like a computer program at the Follow the Truth: The Conspiracy Show Summit in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, on Nov. 16. The summit will bring together researchers exploring the power of the mind, past lives, time travel, and more.

Our world isn’t necessarily a computer program designed by parasitic futuristic robots like in the movie “The Matrix.” But it does bear a striking resemblance to a digital simulation or computer program, according to engineer Jim Elvidge.

Elvidge has worked with cutting-edge digital technology for decades. He holds a masters degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University as well as multiple patents in digital signal processing, and he has published papers about remote sensing and other related topics in peer-reviewed journals. Combining his knowledge of digital systems with quantum mechanics, Elvidge has found that we may be living in something like a computer program.


Earth’s Magnetic Field is Weakening 10 Times Faster Now.

Posted on 21 October 2014, 15:42

First hint of ‘life after death’ in biggest ever scientific study

Posted on 07 October 2014, 14:08

Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel.
The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.

But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.

And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.


Shooting begins on Movie based on Guy Playfair’s Book, “This House is Haunted”

Posted on 11 September 2014, 12:20

Sky Living, the channel responsible for Most Haunted, is getting into drama that goes bump in the night with The Enfield Haunting, starring Timothy Spall, Juliet Stevenson and Matthew Macfadyen.
The three-parter is based on Guy Lyon Playfair’s book This House is Haunted and will be directed by Kristoffer Nyholm, the Dane whose credits include The Killing and Lars von Trier’s The Idiots and Breaking the Waves.

Playfair, a paranormal investigator, originally published the book in 1980 after researching the veracity of claims of poltergeist activity in a house in Enfield in the late 1970s.

He will be played by Macfadyen, with Spall playing fellow paranormal investigator Maurice Grosse. Stevenson is taking the role of Grosse’s wife Betty. Continued

Near-death experiences are overwhelmingly peaceful

Posted on 01 July 2014, 8:18

Near-death experiences are rare, but if you have one, it is likely to be overwhelmingly peaceful, however painful it might have been to get to that stage. This is the conclusion from the first study into how the cause of trauma affects the content of a near-death experience.

Such episodes are often described as emotionally rich, involving out-of-body sensations, tunnels of light and flashbacks. They most often occur when a person has been resuscitated after a traumatic event.

Steven Laureys, a neuroscientist at the University of Liège in Belgium who works with people in comas and vegetative states, started to investigate after his patients told him of their own near-death experiences. “I kept hearing these incredible stories in my consultations,” he says. “Knowing how abnormal brain activity is during a cardiac arrest or trauma, it was impressive how rich these memories were. It was very intriguing.”

There are several hypothesises as to how these events arise, such as lack of oxygen to the brain or damage to areas that control emotion. “So you’d expect to see differences between near-death experiences after drowning and those of other traumas,” he says.

His team looked at 190 documented events that resulted from traumas including cardiac arrest, drowning, head injury and high anxiety. Using statistical analysis and a measurement called the Greyson scale to assess the number and intensity of different features of the near-death experiences, the team discovered that surprisingly, the reports shared many similarities.

Not like the movies

The most common feature was an overwhelming feeling of peacefulness. The next most common was an out-of-body experience. And many people felt a change in their perception of how time was passing. There were only a few examples of negative experiences. “It turns out to be not so bad to have a dying experience,” says Laureys.

Having a life flashback or a vision of the future – the kinds of things often depicted in Hollywood movies – were only reported by a small minority of people.

Laureys’s team will now try to find an objective measure of such experiences by scanning the entire brains of people who say they have just had a near-death experience after a cardiac arrest. The team will look for small scars that might reflect the after-effects of the event.

Laureys is aware of the difficulties in investigating something so subjective, but is trying to tackle the subject with an open mind. “We need to accept there are many things we don’t understand, but it’s important to apply the best scientific method we can” he says. “It’s a first step in understand something that is really interesting and could ultimately provide a better understanding of consciousness.”

Journal reference: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00203

Remote viewing is not “pseudoscience.”

Posted on 23 May 2014, 11:29

Remote viewing is not “pseudoscience.” Please immediately drop that inaccurate and insulting term that you have scattered throughout my Wikipedia bio-page.

Wikipedia’s definition: “Pseudoscience is a claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status. The term pseudoscience is often considered inherently pejorative, because it suggests something is being inaccurately or even deceptively portrayed as science.”

There are a number of reasons that editors at Wikipedia should not characterize remote viewing as pseudoscience, when it is not characterized that way by the informed scientific community.

1 — In order to publish our findings in the 1976 Proceedings of the IEEE, we had to meet with Robert W. Lucky, managing editor, and his board. The editor proposed to us that we show him how to conduct a remote viewing experiment. If it was successful, he would publish our paper. The editor was also head of electro-optics at Bell Telephone Laboratory. We gave a talk at his lab. He then chose some engineers to be the “psychics” for each of five days. Each day he hid himself at a randomly chosen location in the nearby town. After the agreed-upon five trials, the editor read the five transcripts and successfully matched each of the five correctly to his hiding places. This was significant at 0.008 (one in 5!, 5-factorial). As a result, he published our paper on “Information Transmission Over Kilometer Distances”.

2 — In our 23 year program for the government at SRI, we had to carry out “demonstration of ability” tasks for the Director of CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, NASA, and Commanding General of the Army Intelligence Command. (The names are available upon request.) For the CIA we were able to accurately describe and draw a giant gantry crane rolling on eight wheels over a large building, and draw the 60 foot gores, “slices” of a sphere, under construction in northern Russia. The sphere was entirely accurate, although its existence was unknown at the time. The description was so accurate that it became the subject of a Congressional hearing of the House Committee on Intelligence. They were afraid of a security leak. No leak was found, and we were told to “press on.”

3 — Remote viewing is easily replicated and has been demonstrated all over the world. It has been the subject of several Ph.D. dissertations in the US and abroad. Princeton University had a 25 year program investigating remote viewing with more than 450 trials. Prof. Robert Jahn also published a lengthy and highly significant (p = 10-10 or 1 in ten billion) experimental investigation of remote viewing in the 1982 Proc. IEEE.

4 — The kind of tasks that kept us in business for twenty-three years include: SRI psychics found a downed Russian bomber in Africa; reported on the health of American hostages in Iran; described Soviet weapons factories in Siberia; located a kidnapped US general in Italy; and accurately forecasted the failure of a Chinese atomic-bomb test three days before it occurred, etc. When San Francisco heiress Patricia Hearst was abducted from her home in Berkeley, a psychic with the SRI team was the first to identify the kidnapper by name and then accurately describe and locate the kidnap car. I was at the Berkeley police station and witnessed this event.

5 — Jessica Utts is a statistics Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and is president of the American Statistical Association. In writing for her part of a 1995 evaluation of our work for the CIA, she wrote: “Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted. Remote viewing has been conceptually replicated across a number of laboratories, by various experimenters, and in different cultures. This is a robust effect that, were it not such an unusual domain, would no longer be questioned by science as a real phenomenon. It is unlikely that methodological flaws could account for its remarkable consistency.”

6 — Whether you believe some, all, or none of the above, it should be clear that hundreds of people were involved in a 23 year, multi-million dollar operational program at SRI, the CIA, DIA and two dozen intelligence officers at the army base at Ft. Meade. Regardless of the personal opinion of a Wikipedia editor, it is not logically coherent to trivialize this whole remote viewing undertaking as some kind of “pseudoscience.” Besides me, there is a parade of Ph.D. physicists, psychologists, and heads of government agencies who think our work was valuable, though puzzling.

~~~~ Russell Targ, May 12, 2014


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Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I: Raymond by Michael Tymn – Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge, attached to the South Lancashire Regiment of the Regular British Army, was killed near Ypres, Belgium on September 14, 1915 when struck by a shell fragment in the attack on Hooge Hill. The 26-year-old officer was the youngest of six sons born to Sir Oliver Lodge and Lady Mary Lodge. He had been educated at Birmingham University in mechanical engineering and had plans to become a partner with two older brothers in an engineering firm serving the government. Soon after his death, Raymond began communicating with his parents. Read here
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